"The enemy knows it cannot defeat us in a conventional conflict," BS Dhanoa said

Pokhran: Two days after 40 CRPF soldiers were killed in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said today that the Indian Air Force will always be prepared to deliver an "appropriate response", as assigned by the political leadership.

"The IAF is ever prepared to deliver appropriate response as assigned by our political leadership. It will always remain at the forefront in executing its missions," he said at the inauguration of the Vayu Shakti exercise, a massive day and night drill in Pokhran, Rajasthan.

"I wish to assure the nation of the IAF's capability and commitment in meeting national security challenges and defending sovereignty of our country," he said.

Around 140 fighter jets, helicopters and large range of missiles were used by the IAF in the fire power demonstration close to the border with Pakistan, two days after the Pulwama attack.

Top IAF sources said though the Vayu Shakti exercise was planned in advance, the drill was a demonstration of the force's capability to hit targets with "pinpoint accuracy".

After the Pulwama attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said security forces have been given full freedom to retaliate against the attack. India has also said it will ensure "complete isolation" of Pakistan internationally for its support to terror groups.

"While wars are fought few and far between, we have an ever present sub-conventional threat as enemy knows it cannot defeat us in a conventional conflict," the IAF chief said, in a clear reference to Pakistan.

"So, today we showcase our ability to punish, to insert and extricate troops from hostile territories," he said.